Caligula’s Horse are known for delivering solid artistic music pieces over the years. They never got tired of re-inventing themselves and were everything but boring. With their new album they wanted to be more pure, as they claimed. The beginning of the album does not exactly support this theory, as the opening track “The Tempest” has some almost symphonic, sweeping moments and a lot of offloading guitar riffing. It blows the listener away. But all in all, when listening to the following tracks, it turns out that Caligula’s Horse have indeed focused on the essentials of their music: giving more weight to the melody lines and to the overall feeling the song would bring out in the listener.
Of course, we can say that a certain progressive music style with turbulent instrumentation often prevails. But a clear central idea is always noticeable. The band catapults you through a wide range of emotions – especially the vocal performance that’s of highest quality. Jim Grey definitely hasn’t lost his ability to lull the fans with his crystal clear, fleecy voice that easily reaches all high pitches needed. He could easily be a stand-in for Leprous’ Einar or Agent Fresco’s Arnor for one evening, if needed.
One of the highlights of the album probably is the song “Autumn”. It’s the softest song of the album, a tiny bit gloomy, and it carries the listener smoothly though some mellow emotions. A proggy, but still intense guitar solo tops the song off. Another climax may be the song “Salt” for many fans, as it has something magical and revisits the main theme which showed up subtly with the piano in the intro, while it finds a bombastic ending later on in an emotional explosion.
Probably some of the Caligula’s Horse fans will have a few problems with the new album, since it’s not as expansive as for instance “In Contact”, but that’s probably the curse that all artists have to face when they evolve into a direction that’s a bit unusual for them. However, it would be unfortunate if people would forego this album for being a bit different. If you engage yourself with the more sheer emotive, straight-to-the-point direction of “Rise Radiant”, this album will give you a listening pleasure of its own.